Chapter 9   <  ^  >

Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 76

Date:         Monday, October 16, 2000 8:04 PM


Plenty of small thingies since the last report.  I was concerned about the taillight sockets being too corroded for service so I replaced them both.  The best I could get at NAPA were pretty cheap and nothing like the OEM jobs..   Everything is getting cheaper but not less expensive..

While I was checking out the work I discovered that the brakelights were not working..    Driving that way is just asking for it so I dug into the problem right away.  Fuse was good.  Voltage at switch.  Nothing getting through switch..  Damn..  Not easy to change for an ol’ fat cripple guy..

I wanted to get Rustpuppy on the road for more seat time.  Thought about salvaging the switch out of the old white truck..  Then it hit me.  I have Yakima Sue (for parts) and the Junkyard Dawg just sitting around.

So I sat on the ground and reached in and slowly unscrewed the bad switch from Rustpuppy.  Then repeated the job on Yakima Sue..  It was after dark by the time I got the replacement in and adjusted but it is worth it to keep Rustpuppy on the road..

I spent a few minutes replacing the 25 buck clear Mr. Gasket distributor cap on the Proform distributor.  It seems that the plastic used on the clear cap absorbs water and is useless for this location.  Tracy at NAPA tipped me off on this.  He had tried one on his drag pickup and it gave him nothing but trouble.

Then I installed the replacement NAPA module.  Just as I tightened the last screw I heard an ominous “snap” sound.   Then I looked at the directions on the little piece of paper in the box.  It said “Do Not Overtighten”..  Damn..  I think that I broke the thermoplastic body of the critter..  Poop!

Thirty-some bucks down the drain if it is fouled up..

I had put the megaphone on the “Extra Loud Flasher” in Rustpuppy to try to keep me from doing the “Dumbshit Driver” routine..  (driving with the turn signals on)

But the sound was still feeble compared to the exhaust note..   So ror76-1.jpg and ror76-2.jpg show the good fix.  A bright clearance light on the dash wired across the flasher..   That should get my attention.

When I first put it on I had the mount grounded and the hot lead to the load side of the flasher.  That did not work since the current through the heater element in the flasher caused the lamp to be on dimly when ever the ignition was on.  Then it would flash bright when the signals were on.   So I insulated the ground plate and ran two wires to put the lamp in parallel with the flasher.  When the turn signal bulbs are lit the dash indicator is off and vice versa..



Another little project was the choke.  I have been fooling with the choke pushrod adjustment to get Goody to start and idle in the cool damp and yet release the secondaries when it came time to boogie..    I could not do it..

So, ror76-3.jpg shows the final solution.

I was going to install it today but I had another trip to town..  (in Rustpuppy, fun!)

So it goes in tomorrow..    The odd shaped hole between the mysterious little black electronic box and the instruments is where the choke knob will live..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(manual chokes is good)


p.s.  177 more miles and the “mysterious little black electronic box” will start being turned on..


Subject:    Totally disgusting mouse story

Date:         Sunday, October 22, 2000 6:13 PM


I spent a little time today getting the Lakewood Competition traction bars installed on Rustpuppy.

That is not the subject of this report.

Anyway, the first step was popping the Moon wheel cover off of Rustpuppy’s right rear wheel.

I noticed a lot of fine gray fur on the inside edges of the Moon when I was prying it off.  When it finally popped free I was subjected to the sight of a, dead, dried out, and in very poor condition, mouse.. (mouse.jpg)

The damn thing was starting to make a nest in the Moon, getting in through the holes in the Rallye wheel..  (thanks Rob Roberson)

The centrifugal forces involved in riding the wheel did a lot of damage to the mouse.  It’s internal organs were still stuck on the wheel.  (mouse1.jpg)

Gross out time..   I just hope this is the little bastard that pooped all over Goody..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(got 90% finished installing the right bar..)



Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 77

Date:         Monday, October 23, 2000 9:51 PM


The attack on the 24 year old nuts and bolts to get the Lakewood Competition traction bars on started Sunday and didn’t get to a reportable stage till this evening..    You already know about the nasty mousie story so this episode starts with a teeny safety lesson..   Lotsa torque has to be used to get those 11/16 nuts off of the U-bolts and T-bolts so I made sure that a jackstand was under the tail..  ( ror77-1.jpg, note the little bit of rust in the quarter panel)

The old shock was off in a jiffy..  Come to find out that this shock has been the source of the banging rattle in the rear of Rustpuppy since I got her in ‘94.  With the new shocks on during seat time that annoying rattle was gone..  Cool..  (ror77-2.jpg)   The shock at full travel is the limit on the axle movement going down..  I had heard that this was bad but later on I found a good reason for it..

This next shot shows the mounting holes for the top of the shock..  Alex Bilan would be happy to know that there is very little rust under Rustpuppy..    She has never been in a place which salts the roads so the rust is just cosmetic..  (ror77-3.jpg...  A most endearing feature..  Mechanically sound but looking like total junk)

More safety lectures..  Every time I have the wheels off of Rustpuppy I check the brakes.  This is important.    Looking good back here..  (ror77-4.jpg, ror77-5.jpg)


You can see the stealthy powder coated bar in ror77-6.jpg.  Really heavy and top quality..

This next picture shows the down side of removing the shock and letting the axle drop a couple more inches..  The stock brake line is too short and it put a hell of a strain on it..  It even bent the bracket which attaches the T-fitting to the axle.  (ror77-7.jpg)  This pic was taken today after dark with the drop light..   I got a late start and really wanted to finish up so I was out working in the dark, on an old car, with the drop light..   It made me feel like a kid again..

You can see that with the shock on the strain is taken off the brake hose..


Here is the mostly finished result.  The bars angle down at about 2.75 degrees.. (ror77-9.jpg)    And the rubber bumpers need to go on..

I wish I knew for sure what I was doing..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(less than 100 miles to go to get to the magic 500 on Goody..)



Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 78

Date:         Wednesday, October 25, 2000 9:14 PM


The Lakewood Competition traction bars are completely in.  Poor Rustpuppy has a serious case of sagging springs in the rear.  The result is the bars are too close to the springs. (and to the ground)  I cut the rubber bumpers down to 1 inch tall each and on a level road they just touch the spring eyes on both sides.  The spring rate has increased due to the front half of the springs being out of service and Rustpuppy is riding hard in the back. (see ror78-2,jpg) (it is sort of like John Soliday’s S&M bars do to his Nova)

Note the marks left on the bottom front of the bar from encountering the ground..   (have learned to be more careful but still drag them once in a while..   beat up old country road..)

But there is a bright side to the story..  The tightening up of the rear suspension has made the high speed tracking of Rustpuppy considerably improved..  (not comfortable but safer..)

And the acid test..  (launches)

Yippee!   They really work..  It is weird to feel the rear end of Rustpuppy go up with the front on acceleration but the traction is greatly improved..  Probably more than 4 times better than before..

This is good for the numbers which will show up when the G-Tech starts lighting up them red numbers on the dash..

Just 66 miles to go to get to the magic 500 mark.  Then another oil and filter change and it is time to rock and roll..

In the interior I pulled off the teeny electric defogger mounted on the dash and installed a much larger one (also from JCWhitney) directly into the defroster duct so the stock ducts can be used..  Complete with a nice switch on the dash..  Now I have to redo the top dash treatment..  Probably going to fold some aluminum flashing, paint if flat black and cover the whole dash with holes for the choke, G-Tech, and defogger switch..    But not too soon..

Also I have decided that due to the cam change the stock choke stove just cannot be set completely properly..  The problem is when Goody is not either cold (from sitting for several hours) or hot (just ran a while) but when she is in the middle (ran mebbe an hour ago).  The choke does not come on enough to engage the fast idle cam so she wants to die for the first few minutes..  Annoying..

So I am going to go ahead and put in the manual choke I flanged up last week..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(66 miles and an oil change..)



Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 79

Date:         Monday, October 30, 2000 8:18 PM


Just a tad of Rustpuppy work since last report.  I have been troubled by the positive camber problem on the left front wheel and worked up a measurement technique for it..    My flangeup sez that I need to add 0.150 of shims to get the wheel at 0 degrees camber..   The right front is at zero already..  I plundered Yakima Sue for some shims and put in 0.125..   The thinnest ones I got are 0.0625 but I need about another 0.025..   I measured it again today but have not done the calculations yet..   Anyway it is still cambered positive about 1/8” at the edge of the wheel..

Rustpuppy got the 500 miles on Goody this weekend.  But the nastiest coldest wettest damn storm started Saturday morning and didn’t clear up till late last night.

We had sunshine today though and I really wanted to change the oil..  But with my bumper jack non-compos-mentis it is a difficult job to get the front end up high enough to wedge my fat ol’ bod under there..


I went out this evening to Rustpuppy Run anyway..

It was calm and still.  Just after dark but before the condensation screws up the traction..

The first run (Southbound) went really well.  Good launch with about 1 revolution of tire spin and go..

I let the TH350 shift..   (the damn thing is shifting at 4500rpm with the Ford juice in it.)

Rustpuppy ran 14.42@100.2 on the G-Tech..

On the Northbound run the condensation had already started and I picked up enough wheelspin to cause featherfooting.  But Rustpuppy turned  14.62@99.7 anyway.

This is shifting at 4500rpm.   Wait till we start shifting at 6000....

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(more than half way into the 14’s while shifting at 4500..  Happy happy, joy joy..)


Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 80

Date:         Tuesday, October 31, 2000 7:47 PM


I have felt a little funny about the poor appearance being presented to my neighbor of Yakima Sue up at the top of my lawn.  So over the last couple of days I tried to improve them.  I managed to get the beautiful and perfect right front fender out of the passengers compartment and put it in place held with some bungees to keep it from carrying away in the expected winter storms. While wrestling out the Disco bumper which was protruding from the missing front window Yakima bit me a good one.  Crushed my thumb..  Ow..  She does not fancy being a parts car for Rustpuppy and the Dawg I guess..  Then again I got attacked while tucking the bumper out of sight in the engine compartment.   Anyway, from a distance she looks almost presentable.

I also battened down the hatches on Junkyard Dawg to be sure that the loose windshield cannot blow off in the next storm and get broken.

On the important news front I took Rustpuppy out for some seat time today.

I wanted to practice slamming shifts with the Pro-matic ratchet shifter.  It is a bummer but it cannot be done in a sane civilized way as the stupid TH350 upshifts to second at partial throttle automatically.   It stays in first at full throttle though.

It was a little (actually a lot) disconcerting on the 1-2 shift at full throttle 5700rpm as the rear wheels break loose and there is a nasty slide to the right by the rear end..  You have to be on top of it..

I got one 0-60 time during practice of 5.43 seconds..

All pumped up on adrenalin and with a flock of butterflies in my fat ol’ stomach I took Rustpuppy out on the Rustpuppy Run just at dusk.   There is another damn cold front coming in so the temperature was dropping and the condensation coming down early but what the hell..  I was cooking with gas..  (and a bit of empty headed emotion..)

The first run (Southbound) had a poor launch due to enough wheelspin caused by the damn dew to force me to get almost completely off the gas whereupon the stupid tranny upshifted to second gear and then downshifted to first when I got back on the gas..  (must have lost some time there)

Anyway the run went very well after the stupid launch problems and Rustpuppy came up with 14.33@103.6    Too cool..

I was shifting at 5700 instead of the tranny autoshifting at 4500..

I drove down to the turnaround rest stop with more calmness than I expected.  I had been pretty worried about the nasty kick to the right on the 1-2 shift as Rustpuppy Run is a bit narrow for hi-jinks..

The Northbound run was better.  I just rolled on the gas easy to compensate for the dew on the track and got a nice (but slow) launch.   The sound of Goody at 5700 was more of a guide to shifting than the tach as it is essential to keep your eyes on the road on Rustpuppy Run..   (remember the 20 foot drop to the floodplain)   I gotta get a tach with a shift light now..  Hmmm..  It is always something..

The time was 14.25@103.6    And that without a hard launch..  Rustpuppy is smiling..

Note that the mph numbers stayed the same..  Goody is running good..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(still have a few butterflies..)



Subject:    Black Friday

Date:         Saturday, November 04, 2000 7:22 PM


I started the day with finding out about Ray’s heart attack..  That was the big news and it put me into a very dark mood as I drove to town to take care of business.   (Ray will be OK but I didn’t know it at the time)

Then I noticed an unusual amount of noise from Rustpuppy’s rear end as I went down the hill to get to the highway.  There was always a tiny bit of whine when on the overrun with the backside of the ring gear being used but it seemed really loud.

Then when I got on the highway it was whining on acceleration and cruise.  It had never done that before.  With a sinking feeling in my heart I thought about turning back but I rationalized it away enough to complete the 15 mile trip to town.  Slowing down for the 30mph limit in town with the differential up to operating temp with the lube thin the howling was very pronounced..

it seems like the engagement between the ring and pinion gears has shifted.  Usually one or more of the pinion bearings cause this from my limited experience..

Anyway there will be no more Rustpuppy runs till this issue is resolved.


At least Ray is going to be OK (but keep praying as he is still overworks too much)

I jacked Rustpuppy up and put jackstands under the rear to allow running with the wheels off the ground.  Then I made two recordings of the whine with the new 10 buck microphone and the Sony Vile.

The first mp3 is the sound of it coasting down in neutral from about 50mph with the motor off. (whine3c.mp3)

The one in the addendum is the sound from accelerating the wheels and the nasty little bearing rattle at idle.

Damn again..

Rick Draganowski

(what will I do?)


Subject:    Black Friday addendum 1

Date:         Saturday, November 04, 2000 7:25 PM





Yakima Sue has a 2.73 ratio 7.5” rear end which may be ok..


Rick Draganowski

(need a complete rear end 8.5” 3.08 or better..  or even a good 7.5” 3.08..  sigh..)


Subject:    Return of Rustpuppy report 82

Date:         Sunday, November 12, 2000 6:31 PM


As the list knows from the Black Friday message I seem to have toasted the 7.5” rear axle in Rustpuppy.  The weather has turned against me bigtime (winter sucks) so not much progress.  I got Rustpuppy up on the jackstands in preparation for dropping out the axle.  (ror82-1.jpg)

I took a snapshot of the excellent 8.5” axle under the Suburban.(has a Detroit Locker in it too) It sure looks nice and hefty.. (ror82-2.jpg) Looking up Rustpuppy’s hinder shows the spindly little 7.5” job..(ror82-3.jpg.jpg)


Ror82-4.jpg shows the limited clearance I am going to be working in..  I am thinking of pulling the gas tank and replacing the sock and cleaning it up as well as getting new hoses on it.

Today I popped the rear wheels and brake drums (trying to get even a tiny bit done each day).  I got the idea of running Rustpuppy with the wheels off so I could use the ol’ screwdriver handle to the ear noise monitoring trick..   The damn axle made no noise at all!   Starting to think strange thoughts I put the wheels back on.  The howling came back pronto..  Evidently without any kind of load the grease muffles the sounds so it sounds good..  So then the wheels came back off..   An exercise in futility..

I got my ducks in a row on convincing my mechanic that the cheaper 2 series posi carrier with a spacer would be just fine for Rustpuppy (and save some bucks)  I am hoping to get a rebuilt 8.5” axle with the posi and 3.42 gears soon.  I really need to get back on the road with ol’ Rustpuppy..

It is always something..

More to come..

Rick Draganowski

(thought for a few minutes it had healed up..  no such luck)



End of Chapter 9

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